Choosing the right project management methodology is one of the most important decisions you have to make before kicking off a software development process. The good news is that there are tons of options to consider. Yet, not sinking into the ocean of strengths and weaknesses provided by different frameworks may be a real challenge, especially if you don’t have enough experience in building software solutions.
We prepared this review to help you pick a software development methodology that will suit your project best.
An agile development methodology is an innovative approach to project management that advocates flexibility and continual improvement. Its main principles are outlined in the famous Manifesto for Agile Software Development, written and published in 2001 by 17 prominent software engineers.
Unlike many other software development methods described in this article, agile software development methodology doesn’t provide specific rules of how the work should be done. It is rather an umbrella term that covers a set of development models which are based on the same values. They, for instance, include Scrum, Kanban, and Extreme Programming.
Scrum development model is an iterative methodology that is widely applied in software projects. Its basic rules include dividing the development process into short splints and delivering a product incrementally. Since the Scrum development methodology belongs to the agile project management approaches, it offers all the benefits and drawbacks mentioned above. Besides, Scrum has some specific advantages and disadvantages.
Like Scrum, a feature-driven development (FDD) model is based on an iterative and incremental product development process. The main difference between these types of software development methodologies is that FDD is built around features and determines five stages of a project lifecycle:
After going through all the stages and receiving user feedback, a team begins the next iteration. Showcasing increments to customers is a key component of the FDD software development methodology since it guides programmers in the right direction no matter how complex a project is.
The lean development methodology is a project management concept that came to software development from manufacturing. Like Agile, it provides just basic principles, not strict rules. So teams can use different tools such as Kanban boards, value stream mapping, and Kaizen to implement this approach into projects.
The core idea of the lean development model is centered around waste reduction. It means that teams should remove all unnecessary things from the product creation process and strive to use minimum resources to bring value.
XP is another agile product development methodology. It comprises a set of specific practices that aim to achieve the advanced quality of software solutions and improve their responsiveness to ever-changing market conditions. But the framework doesn’t offer something that is completely new to the project management world. It just takes proven methodologies in software engineering and takes them to an extreme level. That’s where the XP model gets its name from. The development process in extreme programming is irritative, like in Scrum and Lean methodologies.
The waterfall model is an absolute opposite of iterative development methodologies. It offers a linear approach to the product creation process, meaning that a new phase starts only after the previous one is completed. Unlike agile frameworks, waterfall development methodology doesn’t provide guidelines on receiving customer feedback and going back to implement the changes. That’s why it’s often regarded as the most traditional among top software development methodologies.
The prototyping development model takes a lot from both agile and waterfall methods. Most of its stages are executed sequentially, just like in waterfall development. But before programmers create a real product, they build a prototype, get customer feedback, and rework it as many times as needed to receive an acceptable result. So, basically, the prototyping software development methodology follows a well-known trial and error approach, except it does experiments with a prototype, not a full-fledged solution.
The main goal of a rapid development methodology is to get a product prototype to customers as quickly as possible. It’s very similar to the prototyping model, except that the rapid methodology puts a greater focus on the development speed and the entire work is centered around fast iterations. Besides, the rapid model is very user-oriented. A team frequently gathers customer feedback and adapts a product if needed.
The dynamic systems development methodology is an agile framework that puts the product’s impact on business at the forefront of a project. But unlike different software development methodologies that we mentioned before, this framework is more formalized. It requires close attention to detail as well as staying within a strict budget and timeframe. User feedback and functionality remain of high importance. However, quality and schedule are the top priorities.
The spiral development methodology combines elements from other project management models, i.e., agile, waterfall, prototyping, and puts a big emphasis on risk handling. It’s based on incremental releases, allowing a development team to constantly refine a product. In this framework, the iterations are called ‘spirals’. Each spiral contains four phases: identification, design, construct, and evaluation. Going through phases within one spiral follows a linear manner, like in the waterfall development model.
The joint application development methodology is a framework for building software products that implies conducting a set of workshop sessions. Participants include not only programmers and potential customers but also, a facilitator, observers, experts, and mediators. All decisions are made through group consensus. The JAD model also strives to eliminate errors as early as possible to avoid high expenses later on.
The idea behind the RUP development methodology is to provide businesses with a structured way to build software solutions. It originates from a subdivision of IBM and offers a specific plan for a development process. According to the rational unified process methodology, the latter should consist of four phases: inception, elaboration, construction, and transition. Each phase is divided into six core development workflows: business modeling, requirements, analysis & design, implementation, test, and deployment.
When it comes to choosing the best software development model, there is no one-fits-it-all solution. Every methodology has its advantages and drawbacks, so everything depends on your requirements and the type of a project. But one thing that is common for all approaches is that they can bring real benefits only if implemented by a team of professionals. That’s why finding a reliable technical partner is even more important than deciding what framework to apply.
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